How to Deal with Dead Debris After Laser Resurface?

Hi, I've read that dead debris may accumulate on skin and lead to acne break-out after laser resurface. Is it very serious problem? If so my question is, when and how to deal with it? Is there anything special required to do to remove it or simply, proper after treatment care is enough? Thank You for Your

Doctor Answers 5

Post Fraxel Care - Dead Debris

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Always follow any post op instructions from your physician - I generally use the following guidelines:

  1. When washing your face, use a gentle, non soap cleanser (such as Cetaphil®). You can wash as early as the evening following your treatment
  2. Most skin care products can be used three weeks after treatment; however, avoid use of retinoids and topical corticosteroids for two weeks following treatment and avoid systemic steroids throughout the course of your Fraxel® treatments
  3. Apply a neutral barrier cream without alpha hydroxy acids (such as Aquaphor®) as often as needed to help treat itching, dryness, flaking and dry crusting. These symptoms will gradually disappear
  4. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 25 or higher daily

The aftercare is as important as the treatment.


San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Dead Debris

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Dear Patient,

In response to your question about dead debris after resurfacing laser, it is not a simple answer. In general, the best advice is to take gentle care recommended by your laser surgeon. This usually means cleansing with gentle face cleanser (i.e., cetephil) and regularly hydrating with moisturizers (i.e., aquaphor or cetaphil cream). However, if it has been longer then a week after procedure and the crusts (dead debris) is still on top of the skin, you may gently exfoliate it with soft face towel. The debris does not generally induce acne flares. Acne flares post-laser may be due to temporary disruption of hair pores and are treatable by your skin surgeon. Good luck.

Marianna Blyumin-Karasik, MD
Davie Dermatologist

Laser Resurfacing: Aftercare

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In the days following a laser resurfacing treatment, it is expected that you will experience some peeling, or “dead debris,” like you have described. I usually advise my patients to rinse their face with cool tap water a few times a day and to use a skin soap like Cetaphil in the morning and at night. It is also important that you avoid applying foundation or other makeup to the face at this time, as this may irritate your healing facial skin. This stage of your recovery is generally is completely normal, and should improve after the first two weeks.

Laser resurfacing after care

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Your doctor who is treating you with laser should describe thoroughly how to cleanse your skin. There are many different lasers and even between different doctors, the same laser can be used quite differently, and even the same doctor might use different settings of the same laser on different patients and have different instructions about cleansing. Usually mild pressure, gentle cleansers, water irrigation in the shower, some times special compresses are recommended, and even for the Fraxel Restore / Dual laser, sometimes the Clarisonic brush is recommended, but you must obtain the approval of the doctor treating you before using it. Your skin may not be ready to have the Clarisonic cleaning for a certain number of days after the laser so check with your doctor.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Dead Debris Post Laser Resurfacing

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Thank you for your question. The office providing the procedure should have this available for you, and after treatment plans.  We usually have patients use a vinegar soak to clean the debris, and to keep the area clean.  There are many ways to have a successful outcome.  be certain to be under the supervision of a Board Certified Dermatologist or Plastic Surgeon for a skin assessment and advice about your after care. I hope this helps.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.